Construction industry releases blueprint for addressing male suicide

With suicide rates among construction workers higher than any other group in Australia, a blueprint for better mental health in the industry has arrived, along with $700,000 in funding to support a range of initiatives for men’s mental health.

Construction Skills Queensland is providing the money to support 8000 new inductions in the MATES in Construction program.

Owned and controlled by the Australian Building and Construction Industry, MATES was established 11 years’ ago to address the alarming incidence of suicide among Australian construction workers.

“Across the country we lose a construction worker to suicide every second day – more than 190 per year. In Queensland alone, it is more than 45 per year,” said Mates in Construction CEO, Jorgen Gullstrap.

And the risk of suicide for construction workers is 53% higher than the risk for other employed men in Australia.

Announcing the blueprint at Parliament House, Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said, "the peer to peer model works," and "helps break the silence.”

Funding will be spread across the expansion of current suicide prevention and mental health programs in the construction industry; business support in creating mentally healthier workplaces through the blueprint for better mental health; the development of a new program focusing on reducing the impact of bullying and anxiety amongst apprentices and targeting small business with less than 12 workers on site.

“Improving mental health is an important part of making sure that skills obtained by construction workers in Queensland are retained in the industry and used as efficiently as possible,” said CSQ chief executive Brett Schimming.  “We need to ensure the building and construction industry represents a sustainable and safe workplace which attracts and keeps workers on their career pathways through the industry,” he says.

The blueprint was produced jointly by beyondblue and MATES in Construction. It provides a framework for large and small businesses to improve workplace mental health.

To learn more about The Australian Building and Construction Industry Blueprint for Better Mental Health and Suicide Prevention visit https://www.constructionblueprint.com.au/

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